Willy Wo-Lap Lam

Willy Wo-Lap Lam (born 1952;[1] Chinese: 林和立; Cantonese Yale: Làhm Wòh-lahp) is a Hong Kong journalist, political scientist, and commentator on Chinese politics. He is currently a Jamestown Foundation fellow and an adjunct professor at the Centre for China Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong.[2]

Lam worked for the South China Morning Post until 2000. He was the paper's Beijing correspondent until the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, and was China editor during the 1997 handover of Hong Kong.[3] In 1995, he was described as the "quintessential China watcher";[4] CNN called him "one of the most plugged-in observers of Chinese politics in the world" in 1999.[5] Lam was critical of Jiang Zemin at the time, saying that Jiang had "successfully consolidated his power" but "hasn't used that power to accomplish anything significant".[5] He left the paper in December 2000 complaining of editorial censorship.[6]

Lam has described the direction of Chinese society under Xi Jinping as "the closing of the Chinese mind".[7]


  • Lam, Willy Wo-Lap (1989). The Era of Zhao Ziyang: Power Struggle in China, 1986–88. Hong Kong: A.B. Books & Stationery. ISBN 9627374016.
  • (1995). China After Deng Xiaoping. New York: John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0471131148.
  • (1999). The Era of Jiang Zemin. Singapore: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0130837016.
  • (2006). Chinese Politics in the Hu Jintao Era: New Leaders, New Challenges. Armonk and London: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 0765617730.
  • (2015). Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping: Renaissance, Reform, or Retrogression?. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 0765642093.
  • (2019). The Fight for China's Future: Civil Society vs. the Chinese Communist Party. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 036718866X.


  1. Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF).
  2. "Willy Wo-Lap Lam". Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  3. "Willy Lam". Geostrategy-Direct. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  4. Shambaugh, David (1995). "Review of China After Deng Xiaoping". The China Quarterly (142): 607–609: 608. JSTOR 655447.
  5. Healy, Tom (1999). "Rise of the nowhere man: Profiling a risk-allergic Jiang presidency". CNN. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015.
  6. Pan, Philip P. (1 May 2002). "Hong Kong Paper Fires Critical Journalist". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 August 2019. Willy Wo-Lap Lam, a columnist known for his insider tales of Communist Party intrigue, complained he was being muzzled and quit in December 2000.
  7. Johnson, Ian (1 June 2015). "Q. and A.: Willy Wo-Lap Lam on 'Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2019.

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